by Lee Hull Moses
In Sunday’s sermon, I mentioned the spacecraft that landed on Mars last week after hurtling through 300 million miles of space for six months. Can you imagine the anticipation the scientists felt, after years of planning and months of watching and waiting? And it turns out the waiting isn’t really over, because now, the equipment on the spacecraft has a bunch of measurements to do before it can begin its mission of drilling down into the ground so it can learn what it can about the planet.
It’s an Advent story, it seems to me, with all this waiting. We talk about Advent as a season of waiting: we light candles to help us wait, we sing songs about waiting. We hear the stories about Zechariah and Elizabeth and John the Baptist instead of jumping ahead to the baby Jesus. There’s something important about the waiting in this season.
Henri Nowen, in a reflection I reread every year, says that in Advent, we wait with a “sense of promise.” Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, like Mary and Joseph, even, maybe, like the scientists working on the Mars lander, we’ve got a promise that something is about to happen. “Waiting is never a movement from nothing to something,” Nouwen says. “It is always a movement from something to something more.”
I wonder what the “something more” is for you this Advent. In this season of lights and parties and mile-long to-do lists, what is the something more that you are waiting for?
Peace to you in the waiting.
*Henri Nowen, “Waiting for God,” in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas